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Jwalamukhi temple, which is situated in Himachal Pradesh, is the place which destroyed Mughal emperor Akbar’s pride. Jwalamukhi temple is also known as ‘Nagarkot’. It is one of the most renowned temples of Goddess Durga and this shrine is regarded as a Maha Shakti Peetham. According to a legend, Sati Devi’s tongue fell here. There is no idol in this temple,instead flames from the crevices of rock are worshipped. The nine flames are named after Goddesses-Mahakali, Chandi, Hinglaj, Annapurna, Vindhyavasini, Ambika, Saraswati, Vindhya Vasni and Anji Devi. Raja Bhumi Chand Katoch of Kangra was a great devotee of Goddess Durga who built this temple. Maharaja Ranjit Singh visited this shrine in 1851 and the temple’s dome is gold-plated by him.
Story behind this temple
A devotee called DhyanuBhagat was once passing through Delhi with a group of people on their way to Jwalaji. Akbar then called him to his court to inquire about the Goddess and Dhyanu told her how Goddess Durga is all powerful and fulfils her devotees’ wishes.
To test this, Akbar cut off the head of Dhyanu’s horse and ordered him to ask the Goddess to put it back. Dhyanu prayed to Jwala Ji day and night and at last, he cut off his own head and offered it to the Goddess. She then appeared before him and reconnected his head and his horse’s head. She also gave a boon to Dhyanu who requested that it should not be difficult for devotees to show their devotion. The Goddess told him that in future if someone offered her a coconut, she would accept it as they had offered their own head and till this day, pilgrims offer coconut to the Goddess in her temples across the world.
Akbar also tried to douse the flames of Jwalamukhi with a stream of water but to no avail. That is when he realized the power of the Goddess and out of reverence, offered a gold umbrella to the Goddess but his umbrella turned into an unknown metal which suggested that the Goddess did not accept his offering.
During Navratras, special fair is held at Jwalamukhi temple. Navratras are celebrated with a lot of vigour over here and the number of people who visit during Navratras is double the number of people who visit usually. Special pujas, havans, paths are held at the temple.
India has a lot to offer to the spiritually inclined travellers. Here are a few retreats.
Timing of the aarti
1. Morning aarti-5:00 am
2. Panjupchaarpujan is done at the time of sunrise
3. Afternoon aarti-12:00 pm
4. Evening aarti-7:00 pm
5. Night aarti-10:00 pm